Here is an excerpt from an interview I gave today:
Relaxed and engaging, with a fine sense of humour, excellent manners, and just the right amount of charm.
Why are you so loyal to Tony Blair and George W Bush?
Tony Blair stands up for what he believes is right and not necessarily for what is popular. That is a rare trait among politicians and for that he deserves respect and loyalty. I am more ambivalent when it comes to George W. Bush; not so much because of him but some of the people around him – especially Cheney and Rumsfeld.
What attracted you to humanitarian interventionism?
We always look at the consequences of intervention but the truth is that inaction has consequences, too. War is an imperfect instrument for righting humanitarian catastrophes but when you look at history, toothless diplomacy often caused more suffering, death, and destruction than principled interventionism in the face of utter evil.
Each conflict, of course, is distinctive. It takes individual approaches to deal with them accordingly. Interventionism should not be seen as a rigid, evangelical code of principles but a flexible tool to achieve what it does best: saving lives.
Humanitarian interventionism isn’t always popular. What is it like being attacked for your beliefs?
It is a matter of principle. It is not only worthwhile but also extremely important to take a stand for what you believe is right.
Why do you defend the Iraq invasion so vigorously?
Because I believed and still believe that Saddam was a threat that needed to be confronted. I have always accepted that there were legitimate arguments against the invasion and never claimed moral superiority in regard to anyone else’s opinion. Others unfortunately have. People no longer listen. They have, on both sides of the argument, made up their minds. Now, there only exist right or wrong, black or white; no maybes and no shades of grey.
What really makes me fume are the self-appointed moralists who call a thrice democratically elected Prime Minister a “war criminal” and “mass murderer” in the absence of a legal judgement, while straining their brains to find absurd and grotesque excuses for a totalitarian tyrant.
When and why did you first start Julie’s Think Tank?
About 3 years ago. I started blogging because I wanted to put down some political ideas and get some interaction from others on them. And because I was spending so much time commenting on other people’s blogs, I thought I might as well have my own.
Tell me about your time at the LSE.
Going to LSE was one of the worst decisions in my life. The anti-Western and anti-Israel feelings are running high in certain circles at the LSE. The backward philosophy of Orientalism has become the dominate narrative. We are the aggressors; they are the victims. They are freedom fighters; we are occupiers. Their cause is just; ours is not.
LSE has become an institution where Professors tell their students that the West “misunderstands jihad” and that the “Bush administration is the most radicalised government” one can possibly think of.
We have to stop apologising for own position and stop buying into our enemy’s narrative. It’s self-defeating.
Why is intervening in Syria so important?
The humanitarian crisis in Syria is heart-breaking. According to UN figures, 60,000 people have died since March 2011 and the actual number is likely to be much higher. Thousands are fleeing the violence across the border every day – 84,000 in December 2012 alone – bringing the total number of those displaced to around half a million.
But as much as Syria is a humanitarian catastrophe, it is also a geo-political crisis.
Syria is not an isolated case like, for instance, Libya. It is central to holding together the Middle East, as it touches upon various, complex interests. Due to the sectarian nature of the conflict, the spill-over effects into other countries are severe.
As such, the brutal conflict is not only pushing Syria into the humanitarian abyss but is destabilising various other countries to a dangerous degree. It is a recipe for a long-term sectarian strife, destruction, and death across the entire region that will make post-war Iraq look simple.
What is the best part of being a prominent political blogger? The worst?
To be visible is necessary to have influence and advance ideas but it also makes you a target for abuse, criticism, and potentially dangerous attention.
Also, you’re 25 (even though I think you’re 40 deep down), right?
Age is overrated. But I guess when you are surrounded by older people, you become older yourself. (It’s not necessarily a bad thing though!)